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For a long time now we’ve been hearing about the potential for marketing data and technology to take our businesses to the next level. But one question many marketers have is: If everyone has access to these same tools and innovations, how do you differentiate your product, your brand, or your campaign?

To find out, we spoke to three companies that are already using data and technology to make more relevant, effective, and personalized marketing campaigns that help them stand out from the pack.

Building the right creative

Most marketers have a pretty good understanding of who their audience is and what type of creative they might find engaging. But what can you do with that information? In the past, you had two options. You could look for something that all, or at least most of, your audience had in common and use that as a basis for a one-size-fits-all campaign. Or you could spend a lot of time (and a lot of money) creating multiple versions to appeal to different audience subsets.

Thanks to machine learning, it’s easier than ever to build attention-grabbing custom creative at scale.

But thanks to machine learning, it’s easier than ever to build attention-grabbing custom creative at scale. For example, in a recent marketing campaign, Caesars Entertainment used YouTube Director Mix, a tool that allows marketers to quickly create thousands of versions of a single creative asset. It meant, for example, the team could create one version for sports fans and another for music lovers. The personalized campaign drove a 15% increase in brand favorability and a 200% increase in search lift.

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Read more about how Caesars Entertainment used technology to mass customize its creative.

Reaching the right people

Of course, even the best creative in the world will do little to drive real business results if the right people aren’t seeing it. Until relatively recently, we marketers had a pretty simple understanding of who that “right” audience was, generally based on demographic details, like age and gender.

But today, thanks to intent signals — actions people take online that give us clues as to their interests and needs — we can go beyond these broad categories and speak to people with whom our message has the best chance of resonating. That’s what CoverGirl did for its recent LashBlast mascara campaign on YouTube. It used maximize lift, a smart bidding strategy that draws on machine learning and continuous Brand Lift studies, to make sure its ads were served only to people whose online behavior suggested they’d be interested in the product.

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This intent-based approach to marketing is paying off. Ads served with intent signals alone have 30% higher consideration lift and 40% higher purchase intent lift than when they’re served using demographic signals alone.1

Read more about how CoverGirl used intent signals to reach the right audience.

Personalizing the consumer journey at scale

Every marketer knows the importance of the customer journey. As we’ve written before, in an ideal world this path would be straightforward: someone hears about your product, they learn more about it, they like what they see, so they buy it.

The reality is far more complex. One person might already be familiar with your brand and be ready to hit “purchase” the minute they see an ad for your new product. Another might have a rough idea of what they want and head online to narrow down their options. How can you possibly build a personalized ad campaign around so many different customer journeys? By drawing on the power of marketing technology.

For example, in a recent campaign for its new feature film, “The Greatest Showman,” 20th Century Fox used YouTube’s video ad sequencing tool to tailor the ad experience based on a viewer’s previous engagement.

The most engaged viewers — those who chose not to skip the 30-second anchor ad — were later served up a longer, behind-the-scenes video ad. The people who skipped the anchor ad were, instead, later shown a 20-second focused call-to-action ad.

The approach worked for 20th Century Fox. Compared to the anchor ad alone, the sequence of ads led to a 149% uplift in consideration and a 33% uplift in view-through rate. And our research suggests it could work for other brands too. According to Ipsos, sequencing six-second ads with longer skippable ads drives significant lift across the marketing funnel, from awareness to purchase intent.

Read more about how 20th Century Fox personalized the ad experience to drive business results.